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May 12, 2008


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Resource depletion I think is another of the most un-reported stories in the West. There is no one asking the question of what $7-$8 gasoline will do to the Phoenix economy. No one. The base of our economy is gas-guzzling sprawl. Arizona's top employer is Wal-Mart - I wonder what two consecutive quarters of $10 diesel will do to the 3,000 mile traveled baggies of Caesar Salad? The entire structure of that organization could become absolute if Goldman Sachs' oil forecast is correct.

Our economic development strategy is spending $1 Billion on a mega-sized convention center and accompanying hotel. Has anyone noticed that the airlines are in serious trouble? Was betting the farm on "business tourism" a good idea when that activity doesn't exist without cheap airfare?

The funniest (or most outrageous) comment about Glendale losing money on the Super Bowl:
"You can look at it from getting the actual dollar back," Councilman David Goulet said. "But I think there is a bigger picture to look at than just the pure law of numbers."

I wholeheartedly agree with Sen. Johnson's concerns re 9/11, and thanks for highlighting her questions. Yes, she's generally a pill, but no one has satisfied the questions she's raising in her op-ed - though I suspect The Republic only accepted it because she's a "known kook." "Serious" people are keeping their mouths shut.

Oh and, right on, commenter Curt...

To Curt's comment, I would add that inevitable advances in telecommunications technology will exacerbate the economics of business travel for the Phoenix area. In other words, not only will energy cost increases decrease the demand for business travel, but making virtual/video teleconferences easily and cheaply available will further decrease that demand.

This will follow the course of customer service phone centers getting outsourced to India or the Phillipines, which was made economically attractive because of easily available, low cost telephone service to and from those countries.

I'd love to think that telecommunications advances, particularly video conferencing, would begin to lessen the demand for business travel but we've been hearing that promise for twenty years. Business travel is usually more than the one-on-one meetings that telecom technology can most easily address. Conventions, trade shows, expositions, all require in-person presence. That having been said, business travel will almost certainly decline due to the costs of travel.

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